Running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, two of 10 players in Georgia history to post seasons of at least 1,000 rushing yards, didn’t get the ball enough Saturday against Florida.
That’s how coach Kirby Smart sees it, he said Monday.
Chubb had nine carries for 20 yards in the 24-10 loss. It was his fewest carries when healthy since Nov. 22, 2014 when he had nine carries for 113 yards and two touchdowns in a 55-9 rout of Charleston Southern.
Michel had three carries for two yards Saturday. He also had three carries against Nicholls in week two this season but that was his first game back from a broken forearm. Before then he had not had that few a number since three for 17 against Tennessee on Sept. 27 , 2014.
Chubb and Michel each had one catch Saturday.
“When you’ve got some good backs, you’ve got to get those backs enough touches,” Smart said. “There’s a fine line between being stubborn with the run and not being able to run the ball and how long you stick with it versus taking shots (in the passing game). That’s really where we are. It’s between those two. We’ve got to get those backs the ball more. We know that. They know that. It’s being addressed.”
Florida held Georgia to 21 rushing yards on 19 carries, its lowest output snce 16 yards on 29 attempts in 1996 against Kentucky.
“When you’re not successful running it, you can’t keep banging your head against the wall,” Smart said. “You’ve got to find ways to run the ball or you’ve got to find ways to take shots. Everytime you take a shot that takes the ball away from one of those guys.”
Chubb is fifth on the program’s all-time rushing list with 2,900 yards but is only 11th in the SEC this season in rushing with 606 rushing yards.
He came back after a season-ending knee injury last season and left the Ole Miss game in the first half this year with an ankle injury.
“I know he’s disappointed with where the statistics are for him,” Smart said. “It would be a lie to say that he’s not. He is. Health-wise, I can’t say anything’s wrong with Nick.”
“The team is not having the year that we want and he isn’t either,” wide receiver Michael Chigbu said. “The way we get over it is by hard work and dedication.”
Smart said Chubb had a “a really good off week of practice” before the Florida game with sprinting, cutting and running “all the way to the end zone.”
Georgia’s offensive line has lost the battles in the trenches too often this season, but Smart didn’t point the finger at the line for lack of producitivity for Chubb.
“That’s on us as coaches,” he said. “We know that. We’ve got to help he, Sony and the guys that need to touch the ball in order to get them some more touches.”